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Industrial COVID-19 clusters in Bekasi, Karawang reach 500 cases

Jakarta Post - September 9, 2020

Jakarta – Industrial COVID-19 clusters discovered in the Bekasi and Karawang regencies of West Java reached 500 cases on Tuesday, prompting demands for increased testing and tracing.

"[Cases have been found] in three industrial areas, namely Jababeka, MM2100 and Deltamas. The total number [of cases] is 500," West Java COVID-19 task force official Siska Gerfianti said on Tuesday, as quoted by tempo.co.

The West Java task force has tracked the clusters to 12 factories in Karawang and 22 factories in Bekasi with the help of regency task forces.

Siska said more than 54,000 tests were being conducted a week. "We are indeed targeting 105,000 tests for the next two weeks," she said.

The West Java administration is distributing about 15,000 portable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits and is waiting for the arrival of 250,000 PCR test kits from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

"The governor is providing assistance in the form of portable PCR test kits to 27 regencies and cities to increase tracing and testing capacity to speed up treatment and isolation of cases," Siska said.

A total of 585,598 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in West Java, consisting of 288,019 PCR tests and 297,579 rapid tests.

The West Java Industry and Trade Agency said the National Industry Information System (SINAS) application was being used to monitor the enforcement of health protocols in the industrial sector.

"Through SINAS, all companies that have operational and mobility permits (IOMKI) must report every week on the implementation of health protocols," said Dendi Hermandi, an official at the agency.

Dendi said 5,585 industrial firms in West Java had received IOMKI, which allowed them to operate during the pandemic, including those that later discovered positive cases in Jababeka, MM2100 and Deltamas.

"Our investigations found that one of the companies was closed because the spread of the cases was not sectorial. Apparently, the first person exposed to the virus had high mobility," he said.

He added that the other companies with confirmed cases were still allowed to operate, except in the production units where the cases had been found.

The local government has requested the improvement of a number of COVID-19 prevention protocols in industrial areas, including a ban on smoking areas and on serving boxed rice to workers.

"It is also expected that industrial areas provide self-isolation facilities because those prepared by the government are limited," he said.

Separately, the East Jakarta Manpower, Transmigration and Energy Agency said it would temporarily close biscuit factory PT Khong Guan, after some employees were found to have COVID-19. However, the closure was to take place after the agency monitored and evaluated the factory on Tuesday.

"If it is true that there are positive cases, we must close the company," the agency's head, Galuh Prasiwi, said on Monday.

The Ciracas district community health center (Puskesmas) previously reported that 28 of the 170 rapid tests performed at the Khong Guan factory were reactive. Two people were later confirmed to have COVID-19 through swab tests. (syk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/09/industrial-covid-19-clusters-in-bekasi-karawang-reach-500-cases.html